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How to Wet Felt over a Vase

Updated on January 19, 2017
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

The Tall Vase Before and After It Was Wet Felted

The wet felted vase after its transformation.
The wet felted vase after its transformation. | Source
The simple vase which measured 41 cm in height.  A round sided vase would work equally well.
The simple vase which measured 41 cm in height. A round sided vase would work equally well. | Source

Find the Right Shape Vase!

  • Get the right shaped vase for this project. I scoured thrift shops for quite a while before I found exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something simple and elegant. I wanted it to have flat sides but I could equally have chosen a round one which would have worked just as well. In fact, I could have opened up the wool roving and wound it around the vase to simplify things but I did not know this at the time. I just knew that I wanted the end result to be spectacular and I think I achieved that!
  • I chose white Merino wool roving fibre for the base because it is reasonably priced and you can get a lot of wool for your money if it is not dyed. You can choose any color you fancy. The surface fibres can be made up of scraps of wool, silk fibres or even dyed Teesdale curls for texture. Go wild and experiment with lots of colour.
  • This project is a wonderful one for Art Students whose course requires them to produce something interesting and unique for an assignment. The beauty of wet felting is that no two projects ever turn out quite the same! Wet felting is not what one can call call an exact science!
  • I do love the idea of combining art with recycling, so I hope you will enjoy doing this tutorial.
  • Having never tackled a felting project quite as large as this one at the time, I recall being very curious to know how it would work out. I completed this project in just one sitting. After several years of working with wool, I now realize that projects like this one are sometimes best tackled in easy stages. There is simply no need to feel pressured to complete this or any other project in a day.
  • The important thing is to remember to wet the fibers before you continue with it over the days ahead.

Materials Needed

  • A round or flat sided tall porcelain vase. (A simple plain vase is key to the success of this project)
  • A quantity of white Merino wool roving suitable for felting
  • Decorative silk threads, dyed Merino roving or Teesdale curls
  • A squeeze bottle
  • Hot soapy water, dishwashing liquid or olive oil soap grated and diluted in water.
  • A towel for soaking up any moisture
  • A waterproof surface on which to work.
  • A small piece of folded bubble wrap to rub the project with
  • Curtain netting

Instructions

Step 1— Turn the Vase Upside Down and Wet with a Sponge

  • Put a towel down onto a waterproof surface.
  • Wet the base of the vase with a damp cloth before you add the fibers to the vase.
  • Place the vase upside down on the towel and begin by putting three layers of Merino fibers down onto the base of the vase.
  • Leave the overlapping edges dry.

The Base of the Vase

Wet the underside of the vase
Wet the underside of the vase | Source

Step 2—Cover the Base With 3 Layers of White Fibers

  • Put down the 3 layers.

Build up a uniform layer of wool fibers
Build up a uniform layer of wool fibers | Source

Step 3—Cover with Curtain Netting.

  • Wet with hot soapy water and rub well.
  • Keep the fibers on the edges dry so that these can easily attach themselves to the fibers which are added to the sides.

Covered with Curtain Netting, Wet & Rub Well

Cover with curtain netting
Cover with curtain netting | Source

Step 4—Remove the Curtain Netting

  • Remove the curtain netting when the fibers below are wet and flattened against the base of the vase.
  • Keep the loose fibers on the edges dry.

Removing the Curtain Netting

Cover the fibers with curtain netting
Cover the fibers with curtain netting | Source

The Flattened Wet Fibers Revealed

Rub the fibers until they lay against the vase keeping the edges dry
Rub the fibers until they lay against the vase keeping the edges dry | Source

Step 5—Lay the Vase Down on one Side

  • Put the vase down on one side and continue adding white fibers.
  • Allow the fibers to overlap the edges.

Lay the vase on the towel
Lay the vase on the towel | Source

Step 6—Wet the Side of the Vase Using a Sponge

  • Wet the vase to make it easier for the fibers to stick to the vessel.

Wet the side with a little hot soapy water
Wet the side with a little hot soapy water | Source

Step 7—Put Down a Further Layer of Fibers

  • Each layer should be put down with the fibres at 90 degrees to the previous layer so that they don't all face one direction.

Adding Wool to the Sides

Put down another layer of fibers
Put down another layer of fibers | Source

Step 8—Cover in 3 Layers of Wool

  • As with the bottom layer all sides should be covered with three layers of white wool.

3 Layers of Fibers

Adding the 3 layers of wool fibers
Adding the 3 layers of wool fibers | Source

Step 9—Cover With the Curtain Netting

  • Wet the 3 layers of wool with hot soapy water.
  • Leave the fibres on the edge dry.
  • Rub until the fibres until they have fused sufficiently to allow you to move on to the next area.

Wetting the Wool Below the Curtain Netting

Wetting the fibers
Wetting the fibers | Source

Step 10—Remove the Curtain Netting

  • After rubbing, remove the curtain netting.
  • The edges can clearly be seen here to be dry.
  • The dry wool will assist the fibres to attach themselves to an adjoining side.

Removing the Curtain Netting

Remove the netting when the fibers have been smoothed down
Remove the netting when the fibers have been smoothed down | Source

Step 11—Continue Adding Fibers to the Rest of the Vase

  • Work around the whole of the vase adding 3 layers of merino fibres to each side.

Adding Fibers to 1 Side

Continue working around the vase, put down 3 layers of wool fibers
Continue working around the vase, put down 3 layers of wool fibers | Source

Step 12 Cover with Netting and Wet and Rub Well with Hot Soapy Water

  • Continue to add white wool, wet and cover with netting.
  • Rub and move onto the next area.

Wetting with hot Soapy Water

Wet with hot soapy water
Wet with hot soapy water | Source

Step 13—Smooth Down the Fibers

The fibres should be smoothed down and rubbed firmly before you move onto the next area.

Remember to leave the edges dry so that they can easily be wrapped around the edges.

Wet and rub them well.

The Smoothed Fibres with Dry Edges

Incorporate the loose fibers on the edges as you work around the vase
Incorporate the loose fibers on the edges as you work around the vase | Source

Step 14—Cover 1 Side of the Vase at a Time

  • Add the fibres, one side at a time.
  • As can be seen here, the dry fibres were wrapped around the edges.
  • They were then made wet with hot soapy water and rubbed to make a neat edge.

Covering one side of the vase in wool fibers
Covering one side of the vase in wool fibers | Source

Step 15—3 Layers of Woolen Fibers on 1 Side

  • Put down 3 Layers to each side

Applying the Layers of White Fibre

Cover with 3 layers of wool fibers
Cover with 3 layers of wool fibers | Source

Step 16—Cover with the Curtain Netting

Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water.

Wetting the Fibres Below

When wet rub and smooth down all the fibers
When wet rub and smooth down all the fibers | Source

Step 17—The Final Layer of White Wool

  • Apply the final layer of white wool.

Cover and wet the final layer of wet wool
Cover and wet the final layer of wet wool | Source

Step 18— Cover with Curtain Netting

  • Wet and Rub the Fibres below with Hot Soapy Water

Wetting the Fibres

Wetting the 3rd Layer with hot soapy water
Wetting the 3rd Layer with hot soapy water | Source

Step 19—Cover with a Final Decorative Layer of Wool Roving

  • Cover the white layers with a layer of decorative merino wool fibres.

Adding the Decorative Layer

Cover in a decorative layer of woolen fibers.
Cover in a decorative layer of woolen fibers. | Source

Step 20—Cover the Decorative Layer with Curtain Netting

  • Cover the decorative layer with curtain netting.
  • Wet with hot soapy water and rub well.

Covered with Netting

Cover and wet the decorative layer with hot soapy water
Cover and wet the decorative layer with hot soapy water | Source

Step 21—Continue Adding Color to the Vase

  • Apply the decorative layer to all sides of the vase as before.

Cover the surface area with a decorative layer of wool fibers
Cover the surface area with a decorative layer of wool fibers | Source

Step 22—Covering the Sides

  • Cover all sides and the interior edges of the vase in a decorative layer of fibres.

Adding fibres to one Side

Work around the vase, covering the white wool with a decorative layer
Work around the vase, covering the white wool with a decorative layer | Source

Step 23—Completely Cover the Vase

  • Cover the sides completely with decorative fibers.

Adding Decorative Fibers to the Final Side

Completely covered in a decorative layer of woolen fibers
Completely covered in a decorative layer of woolen fibers | Source

Step 24—Cover the Inside Edge of the Vase

  • Apply the colored wool to the inside edge of the vase.
  • Cover with curtain netting and add hot soapy water.
  • Rub Well.

Fibres Added to the Inside Edges of the Vase

Use hot soapy water and curtain netting to flatten the fibers
Use hot soapy water and curtain netting to flatten the fibers | Source

Step 25—Rub the Whole Vase with Bubblewrap Until the Vase is Completely Felted

  • Work the whole of the vase, wetting and rubbing until the fibers shrink tight against the vase.

Rubbing Hard with Folded Bubblewrap

Rub the outside and inside with bubblewrap until the vase is completely felted.
Rub the outside and inside with bubblewrap until the vase is completely felted. | Source

Step 26—The Fully Felted Wool Fibers

When the fibres have shrunk hard against the porcelain you can apply more hot and cold water in the sink.

This will help shrink back the fibres even further.

Give a final rinse of diluted vinegar and water to help neutralize any soap which is left behind in the fibres.

Allow the vase to dry out thoroughly in a well ventilated area.

Close up Detail

fully felted layers
fully felted layers | Source

The Completed Vase

The Wet felted vase
The Wet felted vase | Source

A Note on Making Felt Vessels

  • There are many ways to achieve the same or a similar outcome when it comes to making or creating felt vessels. Take a little time to explore some of the different options available to you or develop your own ideas for making them.
  • One option is to make a template which is about 40 percent larger than the vessel which you want to cover.
  • Cover the template with 3 layers of wool and then roll the project inside a bamboo mat.
  • Felt it a little in the tumble dryer for a while and then remove the template and put the vase into the 'pod' and felt the wool against the vase. Alternatively, you can make the vessel self-supporting like the bird pod in the Tutorial below.
  • Use a balloon or ball and even the tumble dryer and make the vessel self-supporting without the need for a vase support.
  • The tumble dryer will happily do a lot of the hard work for you!
  • Remember to have fun and let those creative juices flow


Felting With Sallybea

© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 13 months ago from Norfolk

      Jacky F

      You are very welcome. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    • profile image

      Jacky F 13 months ago

      Thank you for a great tip on felting on to a 3 D object. I have made many wet felted vessels and will try this as soon as I can.

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      DDE - glad you were able to easily understand the procedure. Thank you again for your visit.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How to Wet Felt over a Vase the step by step procedure is simple and you explained so well.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Woolen fibers such as merino wool are made wet with hot soapy water and rubbed together to create a non woven textile. The friction causes the fibers to mat together and the result is a unique piece of felt, quite unlike any commercial one you will see. One can create a variety of decorate and useful items using this method. They include hats, gloves, and shoes and even felt vessels. There are many variations of this concept. nuno felting for instance is one where you can incorporate silk into the work. The finished product can be washed and shaped gently just like a woolen garment. It can also be easily be re-shaped when wet.

      I have not shared any hubs about how I came to learn the craft. Perhaps I will in the future.

      I love felting. It is perhaps one of the most interesting and creative ways of self expression that I know. Thank you very much for your comment.

    • Marsha Musselman1 profile image

      Marsha Musselman 4 years ago from Michigan, USA

      This is very pretty and I see you like working with this medium. I've actually never heard of this before. Is it similar to normal felt pieces or something altogether different?

      I'm curious how easy it is to keep the items clean as it seems as if they would get dusty easily, unless it's easy to vacuum them or dab with a damp cloth.

      Have you shared in any hubs how you came to learn about this type of craft?

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      You definitely can, many things, including pebbles, soap etc., I seem to be in an experimental stage and sometimes want to run before I walk though I am definitely have a lot of fun experimenting. Thank you for your visit.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      Very interesting ! I can apply the technique for other objects I want to recycle too. Thank you for sharing.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Thanks Vicki, I hope you get time to try it out sometime too - though I rather think that you might a more important calling - like some garden therapy as Spring has almost arrived.

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      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Wow, this is really lovely, and a great art project. I can visualise it in a special corner of the living room . . . Hope I get a chance to settle down and try it soon.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi faythef, I think it is well worth a bash, especially when you see the finished project! It looks amazing, a real piece of Art - even if I say so myself. I think I shall challenge you to a go - let me see the results when they come in!!

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      wow..very interesting..looks like a fun project...something I would love to try...

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      I enjoyed making it and am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to comment Icbenefield

    • lcbenefield profile image

      lcbenefield 4 years ago from Georgia

      How fun this is! I love the idea of making something discarded into a craft project. Thanks so much for sharing this.